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Hiring a Private Investigator: Job Description Template

By Priya Jain


Are you facing a situation that requires specialized investigative skills and expertise? 

Hiring a Private Investigator can provide valuable solutions, whether it involves intricate business challenges like fraud detection or other personal matters.

Understanding the procedural steps and the roles these professionals play is essential for a more effective hiring process, ensuring you choose the right expert for your specific requirements.

In this guide, we will outline the process of hiring one and provide a detailed Private Investigator job description to help you make an informed decision when seeking their services.

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Responsibilities & Role of a Private Investigator

Private investigators are crucial in helping you address various issues within their organizations. Here are the key roles and responsibilities of a Private Investigator:

  • Background Checks: They even conduct comprehensive background checks on potential employees to verify their qualifications, work history, criminal records, and other relevant information to ensure they are suitable for the job.
  • Employee Misconduct Investigations: Part of their job involves investigating allegations of employee misconduct, including theft, fraud, harassment, or violations of company policies. Gather evidence and provide recommendations for appropriate action.
  • Surveillance: They conduct surveillance operations to monitor employee behavior or activities that may be detrimental to the company, such as theft, industrial espionage, or unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information.
  • Workplace Investigations: Private Investigator investigates workplace accidents, injuries, or incidents to determine their causes and establish liability, ensuring compliance with safety regulations and legal requirements.
  • Whistleblower Investigations: They handle whistleblower complaints by conducting discreet and impartial investigations into allegations of wrongdoing or ethical violations within the organization.
  • Internal Theft and Fraud Investigations: Private Investigators investigate internal theft, embezzlement, or fraudulent activities to identify culprits, recover stolen assets, and prevent future occurrences.
  • Intellectual Property Protection: They investigate cases of intellectual property theft, including patent, trademark, or copyright infringements, and work to safeguard the company’s proprietary information.
  • Due Diligence: Employers expect these investigators to conduct due diligence investigations when the employer is considering mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, or investments to assess the potential risks and benefits associated with such ventures.

How to Hire a Private Investigator

Hiring a Private Investigator involves several crucial steps to ensure you select a qualified and trustworthy professional. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hire a Private Investigator:

1. Know Your Private investigator Requirements

Understanding the reasons for seeking a Private Investigator’s services will help you communicate your requirements effectively and ensure the investigator is well-equipped to handle your case. Find answers to these questions:

  • What specific objectives are you hoping to achieve through the investigation?
  • Are you aware of the legal and ethical boundaries that may apply to your case, and do your objectives align with these boundaries?
  • Have you gathered any relevant information or evidence related to your case that could provide a starting point for the investigator?
  • Have you established a budget for the investigation, and do you know how much you will invest in this endeavor?
  • Are you discreet when discussing your case and sharing sensitive information, ensuring that only trusted and licensed professionals are involved to protect your privacy?

2. Search for the Top Talent

When searching for top talent to hire a Private Investigator, exploring various avenues and resources to identify the most qualified candidates is essential. Here are some key places to search for top talent:

  • Online Job Boards: Post job openings on job boards specializing in investigative and security positions. Websites like, National Investigative Training Academy (NITA), or Security Jobs Network can attract experienced candidates.
  • Professional Associations: Check with professional associations related to private investigation, such as the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI), the World Association of Detectives (WAD), or the Council of International Investigators (CII). These organizations often have member directories and job posting platforms.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Partner with recruitment agencies or headhunters specializing in investigative roles. These professionals have access to a network of qualified candidates and can assist in hiring. You can use the services of ASG Investigations, MurrayResources, or DigitalInvestigations to hire qualified investigators. 
  • University Programs: Contact universities or colleges that offer degrees or certifications in criminal justice, forensic science, or private investigation. Graduates of these programs may be well-prepared for investigative roles.
  • Referrals and Recommendations: Leverage your professional network and seek referrals or recommendations from colleagues, associates, or industry contacts. Recommendations from trusted sources can lead you to top talent.

 Combining traditional and digital methods can help you reach a diverse pool of top talent.

3. Look for Educational Educational Qualifications

Educational qualifications are essential when hiring a Private Investigator, but they should be considered in conjunction with other factors such as experience, skills, and licensing. Here are some critical educational qualifications to look for when hiring a Private Investigator:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: A high school diploma or GED is typically the minimum educational requirement for becoming a Private Investigator. It provides a foundation in basic communication, math, and problem-solving skills.
  • College Education: While not always mandatory, some Private Investigators may have pursued higher education, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field. Degrees in criminal justice, law enforcement, psychology, or a similar discipline can provide valuable knowledge and skills applicable to investigative work.
  • Specialized Training: Many successful Private Investigators have completed training programs or courses related to investigative techniques, surveillance, evidence collection, and legal aspects of private investigations. Many candidates complete Private investigator Training or training from National Investigative Training Academy (NITA) to prove their skills. Look for candidates who have undergone formal training from reputable institutions.
  • Law Enforcement Background: Candidates with prior experience in law enforcement, such as police officers, detectives, or military personnel, may bring valuable skills and knowledge to the role. Their familiarity with investigative procedures and legal protocols can be advantageous.
  • Certifications: Check if the candidate holds relevant certifications in private investigations. Certifications from reputable organizations, such as the following, can demonstrate expertise and professionalism:
  • License: In many jurisdictions, Private Investigators require a license. Ensure that candidates possess the necessary licenses and meet the regulatory requirements for your area.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

Analyzing a Private Investigator’s work experience involves a comprehensive assessment of their resume, portfolio, and references to evaluate their previous roles’ relevance, depth, and outcomes.

Key factors to consider are the alignment of their experience with the specific investigative needs, the duration and consistency of their employment history, their scope of responsibilities, demonstrated achievements and results, adaptability in handling diverse cases, and their commitment to continuing education and ethical compliance.

By thoroughly examining their work history, you can identify candidates whose experience closely matches the role’s demands and who have a track record of effective, ethical, and results-driven investigative work.

Additionally, investigating any industry-specific knowledge or expertise the candidate may possess and probing for specific case examples during the interview process can further reveal their depth of experience and problem-solving skills.

5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process

Conducting a comprehensive interview process when hiring a Private Investigator is essential to assess their qualifications, skills, and fit for the role. Here’s an expanded explanation of each component of the interview process:

  • Behavioral Interview: Conduct a behavioral interview to explore the candidate’s past behavior and experiences. Ask behavioral interview questions that require them to provide examples of how they’ve handled specific investigative challenges, ethical dilemmas, or cases related to your organization’s needs.
  • Technical Assessment: Consider administering a technical assessment or skills test depending on the nature of the investigative work. This can include scenario-based exercises, case analysis, or questions related to investigative techniques and tools.
  • Case Study Discussion: Provide the candidate with a real or hypothetical case study relevant to the position and ask them to outline how they would approach and solve the case. Evaluate their investigative methodology, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
  • Ethical and Legal Compliance Assessment: Investigative work requires strict ethical and legal standards adherence. Inquire about the candidate’s understanding of ethical dilemmas in investigations and their approach to maintaining compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Questions on Continuing Education: Inquire about the candidate’s commitment to ongoing professional development and staying updated on industry trends and legal changes. This demonstrates their dedication to staying current in the field.

6. Cross-Verify Their References

Cross-verifying a candidate’s references is a crucial step in the hiring process for a Private Investigator. It involves independently verifying the information provided by the candidate through reference checks with previous employers, colleagues, or clients. 

This process helps confirm the candidate’s work history, skills, and qualifications while providing insights into their professionalism, reliability, and performance in previous investigative roles. 

During the reference check, consider asking the following questions:

  • Can you provide insights into the candidate’s investigative skills and methods? Were they effective in conducting surveillance, gathering evidence, and analyzing information?
  • In their investigative work, could you speak to the candidate’s commitment to ethical standards and compliance with relevant laws and regulations? When conducting investigations, did they demonstrate a strong understanding of privacy rights and legal boundaries?
  • Can you describe the candidate’s overall impact on the cases or projects they were involved in? Were they successful in achieving positive outcomes, solving complex cases, or providing critical evidence?

Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process

Avoiding red flags during hiring is essential to making a sound decision. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of potential issues:

  • Licensing Verification: Check that the Private Investigator is licensed and meets all legal requirements in your jurisdiction. Licensing ensures they have the necessary training and adhere to regulatory standards.
  • Ask About Specializations: Inquire about the investigator’s specific areas of expertise. Ensure they have experience relevant to your case, whether it’s surveillance, fraud investigation, or background checks.
  • Review Insurance Coverage: Confirm that the Private Investigator has liability insurance. This protects both parties in case of accidents, legal issues, or damages that may occur during the investigation.
  • Ethical Guidelines: Inquire about the investigator’s adherence to ethical standards and legal regulations. A reputable investigator should prioritize ethics, privacy, and compliance with the law.
  • Avoid Promises of Guaranteed Results: Be cautious of investigators who make extravagant promises or guarantees about the outcome of your case. A reliable investigator can provide insights and probabilities but cannot guarantee specific results.

A new hire's first day checklist

Private Investigator Job Description

A Private Investigator job description encompasses a wide range of responsibilities and tasks to gather information, conduct investigations, and provide clients with valuable insights. Here is a comprehensive job description:

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Job Title: Private Investigator

Location: [Specify where the private investigative services are provided.]

Job Type: [Full Time / Part Time]

Salary: [Salary / Competitive / DOE]

About Us:

[Provide a concise overview of your investigative agency, its mission, and its role in the industry.]

The Opportunity: 

We seek a dynamic and highly skilled Private Investigator to join our investigative team. The Private Investigator will be critical in conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and providing our clients with actionable insights. The ideal candidate is a seasoned investigator with a keen eye for detail, excellent research skills, and the ability to work independently.

What You’ll Do:

  • Conduct thorough investigations for various clients, including individuals, businesses, and legal entities.
  • Utilize surveillance techniques, research, and interviews to gather evidence and information.
  • Prepare detailed investigative reports and findings, maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and confidentiality.
  • Collaborate with clients and legal teams, providing expert testimony when required.
  • Stay updated on industry trends, legal requirements, and investigative best practices.
  • Maintain the confidentiality and integrity of all investigations and information.

What You’ll Bring:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, or a related field (preferred).
  • 5 years of proven experience as a Private Investigator.
  • Strong investigative skills, including surveillance, information gathering, and evidence collection.
  • Exceptional attention to detail and the ability to analyze complex data.
  • Proficiency in legal regulations and ethics related to private investigations.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • Master’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field.
  • 6 years of relevant work experience.
  • Demonstrated success in solving complex cases.
  • State-specific Private Investigator licensing or certification.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive salary and performance-based bonuses.
  • Professional development opportunities.
  • Flexible working hours and remote work options.
  • Paid time off (vacation, holidays, and sick leave).
  • Health and wellness programs.
  • Employee assistance programs.
  • Collaborative and supportive work environment.
  • Opportunity to make a meaningful impact by assisting clients in resolving challenging cases.

How to Apply:

Prospective candidates are invited to submit their resumes and a cover letter outlining their relevant skills and experiences to [email address]. Please use “Private Investigator Position Application – [Your Name]” as the subject line.

[Your Company Name] is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We welcome candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Thank you for considering a career as a Private Investigator with [Your Company Name].

Note: Be sure to customize this job description to match your private investigative agency’s specific needs and requirements, including state-specific licensing or certification requirements.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Private Investigator?

The hiring cost of a Private Investigator depends upon the case’s complexity, the investigator’s experience, the location, and the services required. 

Private Investigators typically charge fees for their services, which can be structured differently. Here are some key factors that can influence the cost of hiring an investigator:

Recruitment Cost

The recruitment cost for hiring a Private Investigator depends on factors like candidate sourcing, the complexity of the background check and screening process, and any additional expenses incurred during the recruitment process.

Here are some key components that contribute to the overall recruitment cost:

  • Online Job Boards: While many job boards are free, some charge a small fee for accessing their database and posting jobs on their platform. For instance, and Security Jobs Network are free to use and help you search Private Investigators by different categories. On the other hand, to know about NITA’s pricing, you may need to contact the company via email or phone.
  • Professional Associations: To become a member of these organizations, you may pay a fixed monthly fee. The membership charge of NALI is $195, WAD has a membership fee of $195, and $50 is the application fee. In addition, the membership fee of CII starts at $110.
  • Recruitment Agency Fees: If you partner with a recruitment agency specializing in investigative roles, you may incur fees for their services. These fees can be structured as a percentage of the candidate’s salary or a flat fee.


The largest cost of hiring a Private investigator is their salary. While many investigators charge an hourly fee, some work on a fixed yearly annual salary. 

The average salary of a Private Investigator is $71,712 per year, which includes $5,687 per year of additional pay. This additional pay includes bonuses and potential commissions.

Some investigators require clients to pay an upfront retainer fee before commencing the investigation. The retainer is usually based on the estimated hours required for the investigation.

Private Investigators may offer flat-fee arrangements for specific services such as background checks, surveillance, or asset searches. The cost of these services can vary based on complexity.

Database Access Fees

Access to certain databases or information sources may incur additional fees. These fees are associated with conducting background checks, research, or verifying information.

Technology Costs

Private Investigators often use technology tools and software for data analysis, information retrieval, and communication. Costs associated with technology tools and software licenses can contribute to expenses.

Travel Expenses

If the investigation requires the investigator to travel extensively, clients may be responsible for covering travel-related expenses, such as transportation, accommodation, and meals.

Surveillance Equipment

Depending on the nature of the investigation, the cost of specialized surveillance equipment, such as cameras, GPS trackers, or listening devices, may be included in the expenses.

Post-Investigation Services

After the investigation is completed, clients may require additional services such as documentation, evidence preservation, or assistance with legal proceedings, which may involve additional costs.

Priya Jain

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